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The kanji for the Japanese word “nise,” meaning fake or false, has been chosen by the Kyoto-based Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation as the kanji that most appropriately defines domestic events in 2007. Unveiled at Kiyomizu Temple in the ancient capital, the choice underscores flawed ways of thinking that were exposed over and over this past year. As the sham practices of politicians, food makers and pension planners were revealed, many of Japan’s most cherished beliefs came into question.

The belief that Japan is a gun-free society was challenged by several serious incidents over the last year. The mayor of Nagasaki was shot and killed on a city street in April. While politicians may not appear to be average citizens, his shooting by a gangster apparently disgruntled over an everyday problem — damage to his automobile from a pothole — was only the most shocking of several gangster-related gun incidents.

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